Typical school OT day for me
I've decided I can write a little bit about certain specific stories as long as I remain vague on identifying details. I'm going to refer to ALL my children as “he” just to avoid he/she language, and also I think most OTs have a much higher percentage of boys than girls on their school caseloads. Just an anecdotal guess. And if a child is in K through 3 I'll say lower elementary, 4-6th I'll say upper elementary. There. We have that established. And also, ALL my children are general education mainstreamed, with just special services as needed, ie one on one aide or time in the learning resource center, or speech/OT/adapted PE, etc. The other OTs in the district have special day classes meaning children with mild-moderate diagnoses in a classroom. So their days look different than mine!
So let's go through my day a little bit….
7:30am: Get to school. Work on an evaluation due the next day and other paperwork.
8:30am: Walk into lower elementary classroom and help individual children out during writing centers. I usually carry with me my “lava” (red pencil), a short fat pencil, a short skinny pencil, a small dry erase board (with 3 lines appropriate for younger grades), and a dry erase marker. That way I can write the writing prompts/sentences out on the dry erase board. Then, if given permission, I give their papers “lava” (redden the middle dotted line), and we start our writing with prompts from me to remember the baby letters versus tall letters etc…. to be clear, that's what I carry when I go into a push-in session for writing, meaning I am in the classroom. I bring a TON of stuff with me each day to each site for the kids who come to my corner.
9:50am: Recess for the kids….do some prep/paperwork, chat with teachers about kids (consulting)
10:30: Go into a lower elementary classroom and highlight writing for a young child who has serious fine motor difficulties. (I write in highlight, he traces). Then take him for pull-out for remaining fifteen minutes since rest of class is moving on. Work on handwriting and tweezers with bugs and theraputty with beads….
11: A child comes to me. We play the push-pin corkboard game (pushpins are game pieces) on a corkkboard with the alphabet in Sharpie on it in game board format. The child rolls bouncy dice (literally you have to chase them around the room) and whatever letter we land on, we practice. It can be just doing it 3x or a word starting with that letter or whatever, based on child's ability. I have discovered that two of my high functioning children with autism love making the game complex – we add on four extra invisible people. So the child gets a team of 3 and he names all his pieces, and I get a team of 3 and do the same. He rolls the dice for his 3 people, then he rolls for mine, and we have to keep track. For example, “Ladybug is the purple pushpin and she got a 6” “Kitty is the silver pushpin and she got an 11”. The game gets a little crazy when you are playing with 4 invisible people but they stay MUCH more engaged with their fake people. Also, a lot of children with autism have issues with winning/losing, but when you have invisible people playing on “teams”, it takes away SOME of that stress.
11:30: Lunch for the kids and therefore no one I can see. Paperwork/evals/talk to teachers/eat lunch in teacher's lounge to collect gossip/knowledge/consult etc
12:10: Work briefly with a child on re-writing a pen pal letter. Focus on logical flow, handwriting legibility etc. Have him write on every other line as he tends to write large. I had planned an activity to do with him, but his teacher hoped he could work on the letter so that was totally fine. I like it when they have work for me.
12:30: Another child comes to me. Play the push-pin corkboard game at his request with our invisible teams.
1pm: Run to IEP meeting for child, one with only a few goals and no parental issues so pretty quick this time.
2:20: Kids get out of school. Debrief/consult with teachers. Paperwork etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Get theraband for a child's chair. Get inflatable cushion for another child's chair. Give an aide carbon paper to encourage a child with light writing to use more pressure with the magic paper! lol. Speak to some teachers about scheduling children around IEP meetings coming up. Make copies out of a journal for writing samples. Score writing samples.
Tonight: Write up a huge evaluation! And organize my current toy bag a little, it's getting a little nuts!
So….that was a semi typical day for me! Oh, highlights: a little boy telling me earnestly why he likes the theraband looped around his chair “It's so I can work and play at the same time.” PS: I know it takes up more material but I much prefer to LOOP the theraband in a circle around the front legs of chair versus just tying a single piece to each side – the kids like to put their legs within the loop.
Another semi highlight: Me going to pick up one child and two others clamoring to go with me. 😉
Another semi hilight: Getting to hang out with awesome teachers and special ed staff and adorable kids!
I think that's it for now. I just wanted to write a lot. Probably mostly procrastination from this huge eval. 🙁
Thanks for the sweet comments lately!! Getting my head big. 🙂
PS: I didn't edit this/read this over, it's just stream of consciousness so don't judge harshly 😉